Public Enterprises says appointment of Chief of Staff was above board

Johannesburg – The Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) has clarified that the appointment of its Chief of Staff, Nthabiseng Borotho, was above board.

This comes after recent media reports alleged that Borotho did not have the required qualifications to hold the position.

Dispelling this in a statement, the department explained that Borotho matriculated in 1997 and obtained a diploma in human resources management from Varsity College in 1999.

“Prior to her appointment as Chief of Staff at the DPE, Ms Borotho held a number of positions in different government departments, entities and ministries. She started her career as a Committee Assistant in Parliament in 2001.

“She worked at the National Heritage Council and the National Home Builders Registration Council between 2007 to 2008, respectively as an Assistant Director and as a Senior Administrator,” reads the statement.

Thereafter, she was appointed as a Director, working as a Private Secretary and as Head of Administration for different national ministries between 2009 and 2018.

In these roles, said the department, Borotho distinguished herself as a committed and proficient public servant.

When Minister Pravin Gordhan was in 2018 appointed to lead the turnaround of key strategic assets at the Department of Public Enterprises, Borotho, said the department, was appointed to act as Chief of Staff after serving 19 years in the public service, 11 of which at senior management level.

The department said Borotho provided valuable insight and institutional knowledge of a department that was “the centre of political interference and where critical skills were hallowed out to enable the capture of key State-owned companies”.

In 2019, she was recommended for the position of Chief of Staff. The Public Service Act requires a tertiary degree as qualification for the position of Chief of Staff.

The Minister of Public Enterprises applied for a deviation to the Minister of Public Service and Administration, in respect of the tertiary qualification requirement, in order to appoint Borotho as Chief of Staff, based on her experience in the public service and having previously worked at four different ministries.

The appointment took cognisance of her competence, experience, as well as recognition of prior learning, an established concept in skills development.

“Borotho was duly appointed after approval was granted by the Ministry of Public Service and Administration, in accordance with the requirements of the Public Service Act. Thus, Ms Borotho’s appointment was done with absolute compliance to public service requirements, regulations and the law,” said the department.

While the position of Chief of Staff is linked to the term of office of a particular Minister, the Chief of Staff’s ends immediately when the Minister is removed.

“It is an employment risk the individual employee has to understand and accept,” said the department.

The department also confirmed that a relative of Borotho was appointed on an emergency basis as a receptionist in the Cape Town office following the position being vacant with change from fifth to sixth administrations. This was an interim measure while the department sought a longer-term replacement and the situation has since been corrected. In this regard, trust and integrity were critical considerations.

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